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duckie1231

join:2009-05-11

[DTA] Why I'm i getting a DTA for my HDTV

Hi guys, this is my first time posting on this forum, first time visiting these forums too.

I don't understand why I have to use a DTA box for my HDTV. From what I understand Comcast is switching everything to digital, so if you have a analog TV you need the DTA box to do just that, convert digital to analog. Ok I understand that. The part I don't understand is that all my TVs have a digital tuner, they can receive digital signals right, so why do I need to get a box that has to take the digital signals that I can receive just fine and convert them to analog. It kinda feels like Comcast is running a scam because the only why you can get digital channels is by spending the extra money on a HD box. I could maybe understand if all the channels are in HD, but they are not. They are the same old analog channels we had before but now they are just in digital. Is there really a need for Comcast to be doing this.

Phugg

join:2004-09-30
Riverbank, CA
Yes there is a reason , but in your case, You do not need the DTA's. Most other people (myself included) have 1 or maybe 2 tv's that are actually digital ready. The 1 tv in my house that is ready is my 15yr old sons 22in Vizio.

dyhrdmet

join:2008-10-25
Springfield, NJ
reply to duckie1231
A DTA and a digital tuner directly on the TV will give you the same channels with different "numbers" (and the DTA will shield you from rescanning and learning the physical channel locations).

the DTA boxes are different from the set top boxes (STBs) that support such things like HDTV, OnDemand, and DVR, as well as subscription-based channels and anything beyond the basic digital package (I don't know what they call it). DTAs are for analog sets only that can't get the digital channels, since the analog channels are being reclaimed for digital programming.

In my area, Comcast opened up a few channels that were never on our analog system, plus everything that was migrated away from analog, in addition to the OTA HDs and subchannels and everything that's still analog.

maybe you can look at Comcast's practice of forcing you to get the STB to watch most channels, but it's a tiered service and business practice. the DVR, OnDemand, and not having to learn the QAM frequencies does make up some of the cost of the box (at least for 1 TV).

duckie1231

join:2009-05-11

1 edit
I understand that for a analog TV a DTA is necessary. But all my TVs have a digital tuner built into to them so I shouldnt have to watch analog TV. Now with getting a DTA for my TV with a digital tuner I am losing out on the local HD channels because everything is coming through analog. If i get a STB I'm paying more money per month and still not getting local had channels. If my TV is totally capable of watching digital channels why do I need a DTA.

Its like if you were to buy a cellphone, with this cell phone you pay for unlimited long distance. The phone itself is totally capable of making long distance calls. The phone company tells you in order for you to make long distance calls you need to buy this special antenna. But when you get this special antenna you will lose half of your local calling abilities, the only local calls you can make are to businesses. But if you pay more money you can get the super antenna and get your local calling back.


Greg_Z
Premium
join:2001-08-08
Springfield, IL
reply to duckie1231
I personally am lost as to who is telling you that you need a DTA.

duckie1231

join:2009-05-11
Comcast is telling me that I need DTA. Pre DTA I could plug the cable from the wall into my TVs with no boxes and get channels 1-99. Since Comcast converted to digital I can only get the local HD channels and up to channel 29. Every channel after 29 theres a message that says I need a DTA box in order to view this channel. If those channels are being broadcast in digital the digital tuner on my TVs should be able to pick them up. There is no need for digital to be converted to analog on my TVs. So Comcast has left me with the following options:

A) Watch local HD channels + up to channel 29.

B) Get a DTA and get channels 1-99 but no HD channels, not even local.

C) Get a STB so I can view channels 1-99 without any HD channels and pay $5 extra for each box.

D) Get a HD box and pay $7 extra for each box.

miscDude

join:2005-03-24
Kissimmee, FL
If they already cut those expanded basic channels to a splash page saying you need the dta, I'd recommend re-running a channel scan on your tv.

Reports from various areas have the channels the dta picks up in the clear, so if you have a qam tuner (as evidenced by your getting the local HD's) you should be able to see those digital versions of your old analog feed.

That being said, don't expect the channels to be in the same location or order. There is no PSIP embedded in those standard cable channel QAM feeds, so they will likely show up in "weird" locations like 110-5 or 115.12. one of the "features" or the DTA's is remapping the digital versions into their traditional channel location, howver it uses a method to do that which is not supported by standard QAM tuners like in your TV.

As for Comcast saying you NEED a DTA, it's much easier to say to the public you will need a DTA, then to try and say "You need a DTA, or a QAM capable TV. If you do get a QAM TB, then you will have to rescan the channels and will not have a logical channel map like the DTA. Also be aware that QAM channel location is subject to change without notice meaning you will have to rescan to find the new location." Marketting and customer education (and actually, even support training) wise it is much easier to have a single unified message about the DTA's then to present all the options available to you with the various pros and cons of each. From a technical/engineering standpoint, it also allows Comcast to continue their "official" position of not supporting clearQAM, which frees them to manage their video network as needed to make room for new channels.

(could you imagine the headaches and further delays in getting new HD channels if a MSO had to do the same 30 day FCC notice to change a single QAM frequency for a channel, like they are required to do now for analog channel changes?)

The Q

join:2008-06-26
Collegeville, PA

1 edit
reply to duckie1231
Comcast addresses some of your concerns/questions on their website

»www.comcast.com/DIGITALNOW/FAQs. ··· _faq_map

Specifically FAQ #27, #28 and #31...reposted below.

27. If I currently have Comcast Cable service and I receive broadcast high-definition (HD) channels, how will this be affected by using a digital adapter?
The digital adapter does not support HD signals. Comcast offers HD set top boxes for a monthly service fee, which provides access to over 1,000 HD choices. If you wish to keep access to broadcast HD channels, you can continue to receive the Limited Basic channels (including broadcast HD) without Comcast equipment; however, Expanded Basic channels or higher channel tiers would not be accessible.

As another alternative, some HD television sets have multiple RF inputs and in this case, you could use a splitter on the incoming cable feed. Detailed instructions for setting this up can be found here.

28. How do I connect a digital adapter (DTA) to my high-definition television (HDTV) so I can continue receiving broadcast HD channels?
To continue receiving broadcast HD channels with a feed directly to your HDTV, you will need:
DTA
Splitter
Coaxial cable (x5)
A/B switch
To install:
Connect one end of a coaxial cable at the wall
Connect the other end of that coaxial cable to the IN of a splitter
Connect a coaxial wire to the OUT of the splitter and to the IN of an A/B switch
Connect a coaxial wire to the OUT of the splitter and to the IN of the DTA
Connect a coaxial wire to the OUT of the DTA and to the IN of an A/B switch
Connect a coaxial wire to the OUT of the A/B switch and to the IN of the television
To watch Limited Basic or broadcast HD channels, set the switch for the A/B Switch to the correct setting (for example ‘B’). To watch any Expanded Basic/Starter channels in digital format, set the switch for the A/B Switch to the correct setting (for example ‘A’).

*Please note: Some HDTVs may have two (2) RF inputs. If your HDTV has two RF inputs, you have the option of taking the output connections from the splitter and connecting them directly to the RF inputs of your TV, without using an A/B switch. You will need to select alternate inputs (RF 1 or RF 2) on your TV to switch between Limited Basic/Broadcast HD or Starter/Expanded Basic channels.

31. Will I need equipment if I have a digital TV with a QAM tuner?
At the completion of the project, customers will need equipment on all TVs to receive any channels above the Limited Basic level of service—of course, this is now the case with most video providers, including our satellite and phone competitors. We’re encouraging all customers to install and use the equipment provided by Comcast or that they might purchase from their electronics retailer, like a TIVO or cable card enabled devices, to avoid any service interruptions.

texxsharkk

join:2005-08-24
Lake Stevens, WA
reply to duckie1231
Similar thread where I shared my results of my HDTV connected directly to wall coax:

»Will HDTV with QAM receive all the Digital Starter channels?


Ice1138

@comcast.net
reply to duckie1231
You don't need a DTA for your Digital Tuner TV if you have some way to decrypt the encrypted channels (ie Cable Card Slot, Tru2Way TV). The tuner is only good for tuning unencrypted content.

-ice1138

ClearToLand

join:2002-12-20
South Plainfield, NJ
Reviews:
·Comcast
·Verizon FiOS
reply to duckie1231
said by duckie1231:

...Pre DTA I could plug the cable from the wall into my TVs with no boxes and get channels 1-99. Since Comcast converted to digital I can only get the local HD channels and up to channel 29. Every channel after 29 theres a message that says I need a DTA box in order to view this channel...
Is it possible that his television is set to use it's NTSC tuner instead of it's ATSC tuner?

I've been a Comcast customer for ~17 years (according to the CSR at the local office where I recently picked up my 'included' one DCT-700 and two DC-50X boxes) and due to the upcoming 'Channel 29 Ceiling', I've begun investigating what I'll need to do with my three Lifetime ReplayTVs and one Lifetime TiVo Series 1.

I don't own a HDTV, but last year I bought a Panasonic EZ-17 DVDR (NTSC/ATSC/QAM) to experiment with. Set to NTSC / Analog, I see everything as I see it on all my NTSC-only devices. But, set to ATSC / Digital, I get LOADs of channels (mostly blank, but 'Added' by the EZ-17 anyway ) and I created a spreadsheet in Excel to keep track of "What's Where". Channels randomly 'disappear' and 'appear', but I've gotten some CRISP recordings from the clear QAM channels!

I don't know how long the DCT-700 has been around, but ReplayTV has a code that can control it via the IR Blaster. Sadly, the 'newer' DC-50X doesn't (at this time).

I may have to revert to OTA for the three ReplayTVs (CBS, NBC, ABC) and then get ONE Satellite box (less $$$) for the non-OTA (non-premium) channels (i.e. Discovery, History, HGTV, Food, etc...) that I also enjoy.
--
The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man. --George Bernard Shaw (1856 - 1950) LM

duckie1231

join:2009-05-11
reply to miscDude
If they already cut those expanded basic channels to a splash page saying you need the dta, I'd recommend re-running a channel scan on your tv.

Reports from various areas have the channels the dta picks up in the clear, so if you have a qam tuner (as evidenced by your getting the local HD's) you should be able to see those digital versions of your old analog feed.

That being said, don't expect the channels to be in the same location or order. There is no PSIP embedded in those standard cable channel QAM feeds, so they will likely show up in "weird" locations like 110-5 or 115.12. one of the "features" or the DTA's is remapping the digital versions into their traditional channel location, howver it uses a method to do that which is not supported by standard QAM tuners like in your TV.

As for Comcast saying you NEED a DTA, it's much easier to say to the public you will need a DTA, then to try and say "You need a DTA, or a QAM capable TV. If you do get a QAM TB, then you will have to rescan the channels and will not have a logical channel map like the DTA. Also be aware that QAM channel location is subject to change without notice meaning you will have to rescan to find the new location."

duckie1231

join:2009-05-11
reply to miscDude
said by miscDude:

If they already cut those expanded basic channels to a splash page saying you need the dta, I'd recommend re-running a channel scan on your tv.

Reports from various areas have the channels the dta picks up in the clear, so if you have a qam tuner (as evidenced by your getting the local HD's) you should be able to see those digital versions of your old analog feed.

That being said, don't expect the channels to be in the same location or order. There is no PSIP embedded in those standard cable channel QAM feeds, so they will likely show up in "weird" locations like 110-5 or 115.12. one of the "features" or the DTA's is remapping the digital versions into their traditional channel location, howver it uses a method to do that which is not supported by standard QAM tuners like in your TV.

As for Comcast saying you NEED a DTA, it's much easier to say to the public you will need a DTA, then to try and say "You need a DTA, or a QAM capable TV. If you do get a QAM TB, then you will have to rescan the channels and will not have a logical channel map like the DTA. Also be aware that QAM channel location is subject to change without notice meaning you will have to rescan to find the new location." Marketting and customer education (and actually, even support training) wise it is much easier to have a single unified message about the DTA's then to present all the options available to you with the various pros and cons of each. From a technical/engineering standpoint, it also allows Comcast to continue their "official" position of not supporting clearQAM, which frees them to manage their video network as needed to make room for new channels.

(could you imagine the headaches and further delays in getting new HD channels if a MSO had to do the same 30 day FCC notice to change a single QAM frequency for a channel, like they are required to do now for analog channel changes?)
I rescanned the channels, the TV found more. They are numbered odd likt 114-8, 114-7. I just wish I knew what those channels were, i.e. USA, MTV.

Thanks for the help miscdude

aag

join:2009-07-08
reply to Greg_Z
Comcast is saying you will need a DTA because they are CHOOSING to now encode digital channels above 29. This is a separate issue from the mandating analog to digital conversion.

Post-encoding, you have multiple crappy choices on a digital ready TV:

1) Ignore DTA, continue to receive 1-29 (which Comcast is not encoding), continue to receive certain high-def signals, but give up channels above 29.

2) Use DTA and get channels 1-70 or whatever, but give up high-def signals.

3) Get a full blown cable box (here's where they get you on money, plus I don't want a box on my kitchen counter for example)

4) Set up a splitter in the back of your TV to enable switching between DTA (for channels above 29) and no DTA (for high-def). See another post of this process. Easy enough and very attractive to have 89 wires sticking out of the back of my TV.

In general, all lousy options. I am not aware of any technical reason why Comcast has to encode 29+ - they don't seem to have to encode below 29, for example. So, it appears they are choosing to do this. It is beyond me that they appear willing to tick off customers with digital ready TVs (which must be a significant number at this point).

Typical


Greg_Z
Premium
join:2001-08-08
Springfield, IL

1 recommendation

A DTA is a QAM tuner, not a Digital Converter. Now if they decide to encode/encrypt, then yes, the DTA would be programmed by CC to unencrypt.
--
I threw out the map a long time ago. Now I follow my own direction!

JamesDax

join:2001-02-24
Philadelphia, PA

1 edit
reply to duckie1231
Comcast is a rip off(espicially in Philadelphia). OTA + XBox360 c/ Netflix & PlayOn = no need for comast cable tv.
--
He who lives the longest will know the most.

rody_44
Premium
join:2004-02-20
Quakertown, PA
Reviews:
·Comcast

1 edit
reply to duckie1231
they do have a reason to encrypt above channel 29. That reason being that no encryption allows people that only pay for basic cable to get the standard channels for free. That said i dont think you will see encryption turned on for about another 20 months. When they decide and im sure thje decision has already been made on when to turn it on. Its going to be fast and furious.


Al J

@ameritech.net
reply to duckie1231
Regarding the DTA's, the instructions shown on the Comcast site and mentioned above don't show any outputs other than RF???? Is this true???? Who builds a video device these days without at least a composite video/audio output???

dishrich

join:2006-05-12
Springfield, IL
said by Al J :

Regarding the DTA's, the instructions shown on the Comcast site and mentioned above don't show any outputs other than RF???? Is this true???? Who builds a video device these days without at least a composite video/audio output???
Sure is - what kind of crap would you expect to come out of the Moto/Cisco box cartel. I mean, even EVERY one of the those OTA digital CECB has them; absolutely NO excuse why every DTA couldn't as well. And, before someone makes some flimsy excuse about "space issues" on the back panel, this company seems to have been able to accomplish this with no problems:

»www.evolutionbb.com/ebb/assets/f ··· ries.pdf

This one is being used by Massillon/Clear Picture cable

»www.dtvrollout.com/updates.php

Evolution also just came out with an MPEG4 HD DTA as well, which is going to be used by Cable One:

»www.evolutionbb.com/ebb/assets/f ··· 1004.pdf

ak3883

join:2005-08-20
Horsham, PA
"absolutely NO excuse why every DTA couldn't as well."

Sure there is, they can get you to pay to rent a cable box instead of a free crappy DTA.

It's a win win for Comcast, Pace probably cut the per unit price by $.10 for not including composite outputs, and Comcast can then say if you want composite outputs you have to pay to rent a box!

Comcast has done things that make way less sense than this, I mean DTAs are really for casual viewing on secondary or auxiliary TVs in guest rooms and such. Something like a master bedroom that gets more usage than a guest room, but not nearly as much as the main TV downstairs might be candidate for a plain digital STB, while downstairs has an HD-DVR, and the guest/kids rooms have a DTA.

If you have a TV where there would be a big difference between RF input and composite input, then it likely has a QAM tuner built in anyway, and you can use that to tune channels(until the Pace boxes get the waiver approved from the FCC, which just looks like a formality now...)

dishrich

join:2006-05-12
Springfield, IL
said by ak3883:

It's a win win for Comcast, Pace probably cut the per unit price by $.10 for not including composite outputs
Instead they could have cut the price more - by NOT including an external IR input port, that most people will NEVER use...


rv65
Premium
join:2008-08-02
USA!!!!
kudos:1
Evolution Broadband got a waiver for it's DTA's. They have integrated security. There is even a HD DTA that is also available. Mind you it's CableOne that is deploying them and not comcast. I think Comcast will eventually be able to get a integrated security waiver on it's DTA's.


cypherstream
Premium,MVM
join:2004-12-02
Reading, PA
kudos:3
Reviews:
·ProLog
reply to dishrich
Wow dishrich, good find. That cable company is pretty good for being as small as it is. They even publicized their QAM channel lineup, and send PSIP data out each simulcast channel to try to line them up:
»www.dtvrollout.com/mctv-qam.pdf

They also use Passport Echo DVR software, which IMO is much better than iGuide, Sara, or Time Warner's ODN/MDN.

They also have stuff like TruTV HD, Bravo HD, Weather HD, CNBC HD, CNN HD, and a lot of others that Comcast has no motivation to carry in my area.

Curlee

join:2009-07-17
Issaquah, WA
reply to The Q
"Comcast offers HD set top boxes for a monthly service fee, which provides access to over 1,000 HD choices."

Hard not to notice these are "choices", not channels. Choices include On Demand, probably even the videos of a few minutes.

dishrich

join:2006-05-12
Springfield, IL

1 edit
reply to rv65
said by rv65:

Evolution Broadband got a waiver for it's DTA's. They have integrated security. There is even a HD DTA that is also available.
They have DTA's without security, also (re-read their brochures) - so cc could have just as easily used them.
AND, just because a DTA DOES have int sec, does NOT mean it HAS to be activated...